Influence of WW1 on the development of modernism in art and literature

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Influenceof WW1 on the development of modernism in art and literature

WW1is used to refer to the Great War or World War One. The war wasfought from the year 1914 to 1918. At that time, almost all the mainworld`s economic powers participated in it. WW1 outstands all otherwars as the most horrific with a death scale that before that time,had never been seen. It is ranked as one of the worst in historyalong with trench warfare, new weapons as the flamethrower and poisongas (Fussel, p.156).

Influenceon development of modernism in literature

TheFirst World War was of great destruction regarding the history of theworld as well as the world of literature. The war was extremelybrutal, and it caused a flow of scholarly works that concerned itseffects and conducts ( Fussel, p.24) These works began with the warpoets then they stretched all the way through the period of interwarmaking another appearance again intermittently all through thetwentieth century.

Amongthe most famous works on modernity was T.S. Eliot`s ‘The WasteLand` (Matthew, Arnold, p.56) It is about The Great War and theconsequent cultural catastrophe. Eliot’s piece is a tangle ofindirect references, both modern and relating to the first class orrank. It includes various languages and themes belonging to multiplecultures. This poem has enormous complexity, and we can only gatherinformation on the war annotations by Eliot from his work that coversa wide domain by using effort. He has a different view of the warcompared to other poets who wrote about the war because he did notparticipate in the war directly and could not see the front as aresult. Jean Verdenal was Eliot`s great friend whom he had someromantic interest towards. They met as he was studying in France andher death at Gallipoli played a role in Eliot having a profound senseof loss. Eliot nevertheless, feels the war and writes it as acultural tragedy that was so overwhelming. He does not just expressit for himself but also for the whole of Europe and the whole ofWestern civilization at large.

Effectson art

TheGreat War helped develop traditional ideas about western art. Itcreated memorable period in history. The arrival of Modernism washugely accelerated by the greatest trauma that was experiencedcollectively in history. Flowery Victorian language was replaced byprose styles that are tough and also R-rated. In art that is visual,Expressionists and artist came up with chopped-up, unsteady andnightmarish apparitions of human bodies that were broken andsplintered societies limping towards chaotic ethical judgment. Therewas surrealism on the whole landscape of the Western Front (Eksteins,p.57). This was before the invention of the term surrealism byGuillaume Apollinaire, a soldier-poet. All through western art, thegross realities of the war resulted into an outcry that was againstthe propaganda and nationalism that was pompous that had triggeredthe conflagration. There was a cynical attitude towards the classesthat were ruling at that time and spite towards those who planned thewar. This led to impositions of forms of art that were direct andtruthful. They were not decorated much with dysphemism and rhetoric.Some artists were left clinging to the shards of culture that wasclassical as a solution against skeptical disillusionment.


Arnold,Matthew. &quotDover Beach.&quot from The Best Poems of the EnglishLanguage.

Selectedby Harold Bloom. New York: Harper Collins, 2004.

Eksteins,Modris. Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the ModernAge. New

York:Houghton Mifflin, 1989.

Fussell,Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.

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